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Equal Pay for Equal Work for Women

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Introduction

On average, women earn less than men across all sectors in virtually all countries. As a result, this contributes to huge gender-based income disparities that push more women than men into poverty. Such a gap is persistent in almost all sectors across all countries because of the undervaluation of women’s labor (Aly, n.p). Ironically, women do similar jobs or jobs that require more effort and skills than jobs done by men despite earning less than men. From realities, the gender-based wage disparity will not close fast enough because of the existing social-cultural discrimination against women in the sexist and patriarchal society (Aly, n.p). In a real sense, men do not deserve to earn more than women for the same job done. Instead, employers should consider the qualification and merits of all employees to resolve gender-based wage disparity.

Equal Pay Act

In the USA, Congress passed the “Equal Pay Act” in 1963 to eliminate the wage disparity as well as comply with the international labor standards (Walsh, pp.395). According to international employment laws, employers should maintain equity and fairness in rewarding employees. Under “Equal Pay Act (1963),” all employers require creating pay scales for similar job positions (Walsh, pp.395). From the provisions of this act, every employee having the same experience, doing the same tasks, working for the same working hours, and having a similar education level is entitled to equal pay regardless of aspects of diversity such as age, sex, gender, and race. The development of this law aimed at eliminating discrimination in the workplace.

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Causes of the Gender-based Wage Disparity

First, the existence of more men in senior positions than women in all social-political and economic sectors is one of the consequences of the wage disparity between men and women (Schnall et al., pp.16). Such an aspect hurts the wage disparity given that senior employees or leaders receive more earnings than subordinates (Aly, n.p). At the heart of this setback is the assumption that top positions require more effort and work for long hours than the frontline jobs.

Another cause of gender disparity is the motherly penalty. According to reports from Pew Research Center, the wage disparity among women increases after childbirth because of the motherhood roles such as breastfeeding and nursing the baby that comes with giving birth (Schnall et al., pp.16). A comparative study revealed that men and childless women are more committed in the workplace. As a result, the chances of getting hired by employers are higher than expectant and nursing women. The productivity of such employees is also higher than nursing and pregnant women because they do not take maternal offs such offs to go to clinics or offs for regular care of their babies. Therefore, this may explain the logic behind the wage gap between the two genders.

Another reason for wage disparity is that women choose to work in the low-paid sectors and roles. According to several reports, women choose to pursue a career in fields that require soft skills such as nursing and teaching while most men prefer to work in high-paying fields such as construction, engineering, and medicine (Aly, n.p). On the same note, women have a negative attitude that jobs that require “hard skills” are exclusively reserved for men. As a result, this reduces their competitive advantage in the workplace. Women also lack better negotiation skills than men to demand equal employment rights. Overwhelming evidence suggests that a lack of confidence and guidance to negotiate are primary contributors to this issue.

Last, societal biases are another impediment to fair remuneration among employees regardless of their social-cultural and biological diversity. Multiple studies suggest that the societal biases in the global patriarchal society are to blame for the woes faced by women in the workplace (Blau & Kahn, pp.800-802). In a recent survey by Glassdoor, women, and men working in the same job positions and with similar work experience and education levels, and working in the same companies, women earn less than men. Therefore, this illustrates employers’ biases on women (Card, Ana Rute &, Kline, pp.640-643). Fixing such an issue is difficult because the deep-rooted stereotypes on men’s and women’s abilities depict women as a “weaker” gender leading to discrimination.

Alternative Solutions

In addressing gender-based pay disparity, it is necessary to develop and execute radical changes in the social-economic and political landscape. First, designing and providing equal opportunities such as leadership positions to all genders is vital (Blau & Kahn, pp.800-802). The success of this initiative can succeed if there is good political will. On this note, lawmakers should develop laws that support 50 percent gender parity in all public and private leadership positions. Therefore, this will bring more women to the decision-making table to address the issues facing women.

Moreover, adopting new lifestyles to overcome cultural biases is essential. According to this perspective, the employers and governments that wish to close the pay disparity should increase the attractiveness of part-time jobs (Blau & Kahn, pp.800-802). As such, this would incentivize men to pursue careers and jobs that allow flexible time schedules. Besides, employers should redesign jobs in all areas to inspire career progression and flexibility. Encouraging the public to change the attitude and to respect women would address the concern of negative stereotypes that result in women’s discrimination.

Additionally, the government, employers, and social sectors should collaborate and avoid penalizing the motherhood penalty. Subsidizing daycare facilities, for example, may encourage nursing women to take their children to daycares to continue working and earning a living (Card, Ana Rute &, Kline, pp.640-643). The government should also compel all employers to pay women equal salaries as men for employees in the same job group despite taking maternity leaves.

Moreover, the public and private sectors should sensitize women on the importance of fighting for equality in the workplace. Government-sponsored workshops, for example, could sensitize and educate the women on skills and the importance of negotiation for equal employment terms as men. Encouraging women to take roles done mainly by men such as engineering, besides, will resolve gender-based wage disparity. Full implementation of the “Equal Pay Act” is also necessary to ensure that women and men are working in the same job positions, having similar experiences, and having the same education levels receive equal pay (Card, Ana Rute &, Kline, pp.640-643). Despite the existence of this law, women continue earning less than men because of the lack of good political will to implement the law.

Conclusion

Paying men more than women is illegal and unethical. In summary, different factors such as social-cultural biases, lack of adequate negotiation skills among women, motherhood penalties, and taking jobs in low-paid roles are factors that contribute to gender-based wage disparity. In response, the stakeholders from the private and public sector should take effective action plans such as initiating negotiation training programs for women, full implementation of the “Equal Pay Act,” and change of lifestyles. 

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